Advances in generative AI are provoking a flood of opinions about the technology’s effect on our working lives. When AI is said to improve everything from productivity to brand loyalty, it is tempting to assume that it can improve leadership, too. Maybe it could free up time for leaders to work on their relationships. Or help them become better at dealing with emotions and give real-time feedback during difficult conversations. So, is AI going to make for better leaders?
The short answer is that leadership is not a product of technology, so the technology itself can’t improve leadership. But technology can shape leaders, as we’ve seen throughout history. Indeed, there are three distinct periods when it comes to discussing technology and leadership, and each one has required a different kind of leader.
In the first era, the premodern era—think preindustrialization—tools compensated for our weaknesses, and leaders needed to be subject matter experts who could master these tools for survival.
In the modern industrial era, technology complemented our limited nature and helped improve our lives; leaders needed to be administrators who could use the technology to help us be more productive.
The third era is the post–World War II digital era—whose offerings include AI—in which we have technology that is designed to overcome our limitations; and our leaders need to be what I call organizational midwives, guiding us through a working life that is defined more by what technology does for us than by what we do ourselves.
See the 3 eras of technology chart and read the full article here: